The following statements were submitted to the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County. All statements are directly from the candidate, and not edited by the League.
The League of Women Voters never supports or opposes candidates or political parties. Christiansburg Town Council candidates Steve Huppert (incumbent), Merissa Sachs, Brad Stipes (incumbent) and Jonathon Taylor were asked to list the three most important priorities they would address if elected. There are three open seats in the Nov. 7 election.
Huppert: Spending: Will Rogers once said, “It is easy to spend government money.” I have found that to be true while I have been on Council. Spending thousands of dollars occurs frequently. As a senior citizen I am aware of the number of citizens in the town who are on limited budgets. Increased taxes can become a financial problem. Council will need to work to control spending on major expenditures.
Growth: Montgomery County is the fastest growing county in Southwest Virginia (faster than Roanoke County). Christiansburg’s population will grow from 22,000 to 30,000 by 2030. Growth is wonderful, but it will be the responsibility of the town to maintain the quality of services for citizens as the population continues to increase The services include traffic, sewage, water, police, re and rescue squad.
Schools: Currently, many of the schools in Christiansburg need to be replaced or up- graded. Even though the town is not involved with the school system it will be important for the town council to remind the board of supervisors, school board and the superintendent that the Christiansburg schools should have high priority when school funding is considered.
Create a new position, business liaison, within the Town to support small business needs to help facilitate growth and jobs. This position will help navigate small business owners through the governmental system and help guide them to proper organizations that can further their growth.
Sachs: Review of the Stormwater Utility Fee for fairness to local businesses and citizens. The impact of this fee is detrimental to growth in our Town. Some businesses are paying $600 – $2000/a month, which creates a drastic negative impact on their bottom line. This creates increased prices for the consumer and doesn’t facilitate new business.
Responsible spending. As citizens and business owners we have to live within our means and I feel our Town should do the same. Do we need a 32 Million dollar park right now when other areas are falling short of meeting budgets? We need to have responsible spending, new avenues for revenue to facilitate planned growth.
Stipes: Expansion of Outdoor Recreation Facilities (Bikeways/Walkways and Town Park)
Continue Enhancement of, and Promotion of Events Within the Town’s Central Business Districts (Downtown and Cambria)
Stimulate Investment in the Uptown Area of Town (Marketplace/NRV Mall/ Spradlin Farms)—a “Reinvention” of Sorts.
The election is Tuesday, Nov. 7. Polls are open from 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Council members serve four-year terms. Jonathon Taylor did not respond to the League of Women Voters.
Montgomery County voters with questions can contact the Registrar’s office (755 Roanoke St., Christiansburg) 382-5741 or visit www.montgomerycountyva.gov.